In one of the worst county finals ever witnessed, Carrickedmond battled back to snatch a draw against Ardagh St. Patrick’s in the Intermediate Championship decider at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last and thus the clubs will have to meet again to determine the destination of the Hennessy Cup.
Make no mistake about it, this was terrible stuff and the attendance must have felt cheated of their admission money after watching this low scoring shambles that neither side deserved to win with Francis Kelly flicking the equalising point in the 57th minute. Things can only get better for the replay which has been fixed for Saturday evening next (5pm throw-in) with a hesitant vote for a Carrickedmond win.
Both Ardagh (10 wides) and Carrickedmond (12 wides) were guilty of some very poor finishing that left a lot to be desired and the eventual Intermediate champions will be facing a serious struggle in the senior grade next season on the evidence of the drawn encounter.
Having said that, the clubs were hard hit by injuries with Seamus Shortt out of action for Ardagh while Carrickedmond were forced to field without Kevin Moran, Patrick Farrell and Mark McDonneill, the latter a long term casualty but who was listed among the substitutes on the match programme.
Ardagh were looking the likely winners when a disputed Killian Farrell point with five minutes gone on the changeover left his side leading by 0-4 to 0-1 but St. Patrick’s failed to register another score as Carrickedmond gradually closed the gap to earn a second chance.
Carrick had to wait until the 20th minute for their solitary score in the first half when Marty Mulvey shot over the bar and went close to getting a goal with less than sixty seconds gone in the game when John Gerety had a point-blank shot well saved by the opposing keeper Michael Lenehan. This was the end result of probably the best move in the match but there was litte to shout about thereafter with a littany of silly errors that was very frustating to watch.
Ardagh enjoyed their best spell in the first quarter of the contest and after Cathal McGlynn fired over a fine point in the 2nd minute, a further brace of well struck scores followed from Paddy Ganley in the 5th and 13th minutes. Carrick finally ending their scoring famine with the Marty Mulvey point, set up by John O’Shea, but the squandermania continued from there until the break with Ardagh holding a slender 0-3 to 0-1 advantage going into the second half.
Things did not improve on the changeover and while Killian Farrell stretched the lead in the 35th minute, St. Patrick’s were guilty of some costly missed chances at this stage of the game that could have given them a comfortable cushion. There was a close call when substitute Tommy Cummins (who was brought on right at the end of the first half) had a shot waved wide before Carrickedmond evenually scored again in the 45th minute when Padraig O’Shea created the opportunity for fellow defender Padraig McGrath to shoot over the bar.
Ardagh were then dealt a significant setback when Paddy Ganley was sent-off in the 49th minute for two yellow card offences in quick succession and the second was a totally unecessary booking as he committed a stupid foul after letting the ball slip from his grasp.
That gave Carrickedmond a boost and moments later Barry O’Farrell provided the pass for midfielder John Burns to land a cracking long range effort that narrowed the gap to the minimum of margins. Carrick got back on level terms with three minutes of normal time remaining when a Burns ‘45’ dropped short of the posts but the alert Francis Kelly got the vital touch to direct the ball over the bar.
And Carrickedmond had a great chance of snatching a dramatic late winner when Barry O’Farrell raced through but instead of attempting to fist a point, he elected to pass to John Gerety who screwed his shot wide. The action then switched to the other end with Shane Powell attempting to burst his way through along the endline when he appeared to be impeded but referee Ger Carberry awarded a free out.
Moments later Tommy Cummins went desperately close to getting the winning score for Carrickedmond when he struck a long range free against the upright and his side were then reduced to 14 players when John Burns was sent-off for a second yellow card offence in the first minute of stoppage time.
There was one last chance for Carrick when Cummins tried to get through but he was penalised for overplaying the ball close to the posts and that was it in a dismal county Intermediate final.
ARDAGH ST. PATRICK’S: Michael Lenehan; Brian Farrell, Enda Gillen, Kevin Leavy; Enda Ward, Gerard Farrell, Ciaran Kelly; Shane Powell, Emmet Donlon; Cathal McGlynn (0-1), Shane Henry, Frank Galvin; Paddy Ganley (0-2), Killian Farrell (0-1), Danny Keenan. Sub:- Enda Farrell for F Galvin (37 mins).
CARRICKEDMOND: Gareth Higgins; James Murray, Niall O’Farrell, Barry O’Farrell; Oisin Farrell, Padraig O’Shea, Padraig McGrath (0-1); John Burns (0-1), John O’Shea; Jonathan Keegan, Marty Mulvey (0-1), John Lenehan; Francis Kelly (0-1), John Gerety, Conor Kelly.
Subs:- Tommy Cummins for C Kelly (half-time); Paul Maguire for J Lenehan (47 mins).
Referee: Ger Carberry (Killoe Emmet Og).